22 April 2017

Post 499: THE YOUNG KEEP THE MUSIC GOING!

There are plenty of wonderful young musicians around the globe who have discovered the musical styles and repertoire of a century ago and are playing traditional jazz with great skill and passion.

Recently two more groups have come to my attention. In Brazil, guitarist Cleber Guimarães has been developing his fine, swinging little band called Fizz Jazz, and you can watch a good example of their work - 'Sunday Swing' - a piece composed by Cleber himself - BY CLICKING HERE. The band seems to have a nucleus of four versatile musicians. Occasionally they are joined by two friends on keyboard and trumpet. Also the band has now issued its first recordings - available on Bandcamp at:
https://fizzjazz.bandcamp.com/album/live-at-the-studio

The other group is The Milk Crate Bandits, based in Vancouver, BC, Canada, and led by banjo-playing singer Jack Ray. You can easily find examples of their work on YouTube. Late in 2016 they travelled to New Orleans and, for a great acoustic, recorded several tunes in the building that was the former Luthjen's Dance Hall - and is today the Marigny Recording Studios. I understand that two EPs should be available from May 2017 onwards.

For an immediate example of what is going on in Japan, where there are many well-trained traditional jazz musicians, have a look at a video of Over The Waves played by young musicians in Tokyo:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KBuXLwcnvvg
I constantly hear of new young bands setting up, (though sadly not as many as I would wish in my own country). There is The Stone Arch Jazz Band in Minneapolis, founded by the talented and tasteful clarinet-player Richard Lund. Have a look at their website: Click here to view. And note that the band has already made some stylish videos, such as this one: Click here to view.


The band called The Fat Babies, based in Chicago, are highly respected and I am told they play regularly at The Green Mill Bar in that City. You can find plenty of their videos on YouTube.

And The Dirty River Dixie Band, founded in Texas and playing a very energetic kind of dixieland music, was able to announce towards the end of 2016 that the average age of its members was under 25.

The situation in such countries as Australia, Germany, Canada, Spain, Italy and Denmark, as far as I can tell, gives some encouragement.

The Dizzy Birds Jazz Band in Berlin is terrific.

And correspondent Michael Meissner introduced me to Queen Porter Stomp in Sydney, Australia. Here they are, and you can easily find examples of this fine young band's work on YouTube:
Regular correspondent from Holland Robert Duis recommends looking at videos of Malo's Hot Five and Attila's Rollini Project; and my friend Anders Winnberg in Sweden has assured me there are plenty of good bands operating in his country, where the Gothenburg Jazz Festival is a major event. And Ray Andrew in Perth, Australia, has told me the traditional jazz scene is very strong in his city and that the young are being attracted to it. Even Finland - a country remote from New Orleans and with a population of well under six million - has the very pleasant Birger's Ragtime BandAlso in Finland there is a band called Doctor Jazz: it seems to me to be bright and recently formed; and several of the players are relatively young.

Regular reader Phil in the USA has recommended the Moscow-based young bands The Kickipickles and The Moscow Ragtime Band. You may find their work on YouTube.

And in Japan, especially, as I indicated above, traditional jazz seems to be going through a boom period. Some of the best in the world is being played in Tokyo. Seek out the performances on YouTube made by the video-maker codenamed ragtimecave.

So, we do not have to accept that traditional jazz is on the way out!

In St. Louis, Missouri, The Sidney Street Shakers play exactly the kind of jazz I like best - unpretentious, straightforward, exciting, with good teamwork and just right for dancers. And note elsewhere The California Feet Warmers - a fairly young band playing slick, well-prepared traditional jazz.

Elsewhere, you may find such good young bands as Magic Shook Heads and The Hippocampus Jass Gang in the south of France: their videos are worth watching. And in Buenos Aires, you have the Jazz Friends - a terrific, fluent band, whose range of instruments sometimes includes the 'pinkullo' - a South American flute.

In the North-Eastern corner of Italy we find the young Adovabadan Jazz Band of Treviso playing some very tasteful traditional jazz. For example, click here to see them performing Cake Walking Babies From Home.

In the Rhine-Neckar area of Germany, a newly-formed band of energetic and enthusiastic young musicians has shown what can be achieved even with a limited range of instruments. They call themselves Die Selbsthilfe-Gruppe (The Self-Help Group) and you can find examples of their work on YouTube.

All terrific stuff. So heart-warming; and giving great hope for the future.

Above all, I can tell you there is great old-time jazz being played by YOUNG people on the streets of New Orleans; and I believe the Internet is spreading their influence so rapidly that there will be yet another big revival of this kind of music.

There are over twenty traditional jazz bands playing professionally in New Orleans - more than at any previous time in jazz history.

To see what I mean, even if you can't get to New Orleans, try spending some time on YouTube. You will be amazed at the quality of the traditional jazz being produced by instrumentalists in their twenties and thirties; and there are plenty of singers of outstanding ability too.

I have written before about Tuba Skinny and The Shotgun Jazz Band - currently the best of all the groups. They are not only technically brilliant; they also take great care over arrangements and presentation of tunes, and they have been reviving great old melodies that were in danger of being forgotten. Have a good look and listen to their work. But here are some examples of other New Orleans bands you may care to investigate on YouTube:

Rhythm Wizards Jazz Band (CLICK HERE to sample their tasteful playing)
Loose Marbles
Little Big Horns
The Cottonmouth Kings
Smoking Time Jazz Band
Jessy Carolina and the Hot Mess
Jenavieve Cook and the Royal Street Winding Boys
Yes Ma'am String Band
The Gentilly Stompers
Hokum High Rollers
The Big Dixie Swingers
The Messy Cookers
The Sluetown Strutters
The Palmetto Bug Stompers
John Zarsky and the Trad Stars
The Jazz Vipers
The New Orleans Swamp Donkeys
Orleans 6 (led by the excellent Ben Polcer)

And even in Britain there is some hope.

The great Ewan Bleach, who spent several months in New Orleans playing regularly with Tuba Skinny and other bands, is involved in several enterprises. In particular, he leads The Cable Street Rag Band in the Limehouse area of London. Robin Rapuzzi recommends this band. He told me: 'I've had the honor of playing with them the last couple summers. Those guys are great. They can play everything from straight and narrow ragtime compositions to gorgeous waltzes and hot, hot dance numbers'. Try them for yourself: there are several videos on YouTube. 'Hot' they certainly are. (You should spot Robin himself guesting on washboard in one of the videos.)

And have a look at the videos of The Brownfield/Byrne Hot Six to discover some technically-brilliant swinging jazz being played by chaps who seem to be still in their twenties.

Also from Britain, seek out the videos of Adrian Cox, or Ben Cummings, or The Graham Hughes Sunshine Kings, or Giacomo Smith, or The Basin Street Brawlers. You will have a pleasant surprise.

am sure there must be many other such bands around the world. I would be pleased to receive more information.